BMA Scotland: Persistent and substantial health inequalities cannot be ignored
The latest statistics show that health inequalities remain a persistent and substantial problem that simply cannot be ignored, Lewis Morrison, Chair of BMA Scotland said today.
Dr Morrison was responding to the publication of the Long-term Monitoring of Health Inequalities report, which showed that stark differences remain between health outcomes for more and less deprived areas across Scotland – and in some areas are getting worse.
At the same time, a separate publication showed the proportion of Primary 1 children at risk of overweight or obesity has increased in the most deprived areas but decreased in the least deprived areas. The report finds “there are now substantial inequalities in child unhealthy weight across Scotland”.
Dr Morrison said:
“These statistics should leave us in absolutely no doubt that stark and unacceptable health inequalities persist across Scotland.
“The significantly worse health of those who live in our most deprived areas compared to the substantially better outcomes for those who live in the least deprived areas is a persistent, substantial issue that simply cannot be ignored. Finding solutions must be at top of the political agenda and something we strive to achieve across society.
“Indeed, any complacency at some of the progress made should be quickly dispelled by news that there are now substantial inequalities in child unhealthy weight across Scotland. That would indicate that there is still a massive distance to travel before we really begin to make serious inroads towards cutting the health inequality gap.
“Taking an optimistic view, important steps have already been made such as minimum unit pricing, and looking further back, the smoking ban. This shows that Scotland is able to take world leading measures, and we must not take a step back from this direction of travel.
“Plans to consult on restricting alcohol marketing and the current consultation on introducing restrictions to price promotions and some marketing of products that are high in fat, salt or sugar provide further opportunities to make a real difference, and we look to the Scottish Government to be bold in these areas.
“But equally, reducing health inequalities will need concerted action across many areas like low pay, poor educational outcomes and inadequate housing. These statistics simply must prompt continued and urgent action on all these areas and across all levels of Government.”
Long-term Monitoring of Health Inequalities report:
Child healthy weight publication: